Alcohol arithmetic

The Herald reports:

Rising economic confidence and “aggressive” marketing techniques are the driving factors behind an 8.9 million litre rise in alcohol availability last year, says one concerned health organisation.

Latest figures from Statistics New Zealand, which compared figures over the last five years, show the total volume of alcohol available in New Zealand rose to 466 million litres last year – the equivalent of 2.1 standard drinks per person aged 18 and over per day.

It represents an increase of almost 9 million litres from 2012, according to Statistics New Zealand.

How shocking! But Stats Chats points out the story neglected to mention this fact:

The volume of pure alcohol available per person aged 15 years and over was unchanged, at 9.2 litres. This equates to an average of 2.0 standard drinks per person per day.

So real story is level of alcohol available is unchanged per capita.

The total level of alcohol available is in fact still lower than in 2008, and much lower per capita.

In terms of the last year, wine is up 3.6%, beer up 3.2%, spirits up 1.0% and spirit-based drinks (RTDs) down 6.2%. What this means is the actual amount of pure alcohol available for consumption has actually dropped, and has done so for three years. The level is 4.4% lower than three years ago.